Old Town Cape honors recipients at awards dinner
An evening of celebration and laughter marked Old Town Cape's annual dinner Thursday at the Isle Casino Cape Girardeau Event Center, where volunteers were recognized and businesses and individuals honored for their contributions to the continued growth and revitalization of downtown Cape Girardeau.
A crowd of 330 people was the largest ever for the event, said Old Town Cape executive director Marla Mills.
Old Town Cape and the downtown area have a lot to celebrate, said Old Town Cape board president Emilie Stephens of Annie-Em's at Home.
In 2017, the organization's plan to revitalize Ivers Square at the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau won more than $127,000 in grant money in a nationwide competition. The Partners in Preservation grant was awarded through the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express in partnership with Main Street America, and was one of 11 awarded in the United States.
Sidewalks on Main Street were upgraded, Stephens continued, and a portrait of General Seth McKee was added to the Mississippi River floodwall.
But, Stephens said, her favorite part was the growth, with 26 new businesses, 35.5 new jobs, more than $9 million in development money contributed by businesses and private entities -- and the free public wi-fi connection now available at Marquette Tower.
But, as executive director Mills said, the volunteer-driven organization could not do what it does without help.
Leland "Freck" Shivelbine received the Charles L. Hutson Visionary Award.
Shivelbine "was an original board member with Old Town Cape Inc., helped start Tunes at Twilight, was instrumental in the development of the murals and received multiple awards for his efforts around music and the arts," according to a news release from Old Town Cape.
His sons, Scott and Mike Shivelbine, accepted the award on his behalf and read a message from Leland.
The Marquette Tower Rehabilitation Project netted the Preservation of Heritage Award. The Old Town Cape Historic Landmark Preservation Group worked to complete the second rehabilitation of the building, which included retaining and complementing original historic material as possible, including original floor tiles manufactured by only one company in the world.
Jeff Maurer and Scott Rhodes accepted the award on the behalf of the investment group comprised of more than 20 individuals, couples and families.
Randi Dirnberger was awarded Volunteer of the Year. Dirnberger began volunteering in 2016 when she joined the Promotion Committee, and has been acting as chair of the committee since January, according to the release. She also schedules music each week for the Cape Riverfront Market and the Downtown Christmas Open House.
Minglewood Brewery at 121 Broadway received the Business Excellence Award for its regular sponsorship of activities and events to support the community, and their participation in events to drive traffic toward downtown businesses. Owner Stuart Matthews accepted the award.
Local historian Frank Nickell was given special recognition for his achievement in historic preservation, and for "telling the stories of the people and places of Cape Girardeau, our downtown, and the entire region of Southeast Missouri," according to the news release.
Nickell's contribution to the downtown region includes his 40-year teaching career at Southeast Missouri State University and his work with the Kellerman Foundation, and, said presenter Steven Hoffman, director of Southeast's historic preservation program, a great contribution to the countless people who were enchanted, informed and inspired by him.
Nickell received a standing ovation from the crowd.
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